Several political organisations in Kerala, including student wings of both the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the BJP, launched protests outside the secretariat in Thiruvanthapuram today to demand justice over the acquittal of three accused in the alleged sexual assault and murder of two young sisters at Palakkad in 2017.
Three men were acquitted last week in a case where an 13-year-old girl was found hanging at her home in Palakkad district on January 13, 2017, while her nine-year-old sister was found dead in the same way at the same spot on March 4 that year.
The postmortem report of the younger sister showed sexual abuse. And the police had said that even the elder sister was sexually abused.
The three accused -- V Madhu (27) M Madhu (27) and Shibu (43) -- were acquitted for lack of evidence.
The Opposition has claimed that the accused were shielded by the ruling Left Democratic Front, an allegation first raised by the mother of two sisters soon after the acquittal. She had also alleged that police tried to sabotage the probe.
While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in the assembly that the acquittal was unfortunate, and the government would decide on a CBI probe or re-investigation into the case, the Left has denied shielding the accused. The CPI, an ally of the ruling CPI(M), was among the parties that took to the streets in protest.
"It's not true that these accused are with the Left. The Opposition has tried to create a narrative. We have looked into the matter. But Left has a vast support base in Kerala. If any sympathisers are found involved, the party will not shield them", CPM MLA AN Shamseer told NDTV.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the police colluded with the accused after an intervention by local Left political leaders. The Left denied the claim.
The Kerala Women's Commission sought action against the officials for their ''lapses'' in the case.
At Walayar in Palakkad, where the sisters were found hanging, BJP activists led by party leader Kummanam Rajasekharan began a 100-hour protest. Several Congress leaders , including parliamentarians, are also expected to visit the mother of the two sisters as part of their protests outside the Assembly.
The Opposition Congress disrupted proceedings on the first day of the 16th session of the Kerala assembly on Monday, demanding a CBI probe into the matter.
(With inputs from PTI)